Vic. Parliament News – February 2017

Community Input Sought on Key Issues

The new year brings with it some new opportunities for people in regional Victoria to contribute to the Victorian Parliament’s work.

A number of new parliamentary inquiries are currently seeking community input, and they focus on issues that affect people across Victoria.

Drug law reform is in the spotlight with the Law Reform, Road and Community Safety Committee looking at how effectively laws, procedures and regulations minimise drug-related harms.

“We welcome input from people and organisations with information and views to share on these important issues,” said Committee Chair Geoff Howard.

“Communities across Victoria are affected by the laws that Parliament makes on illicit and synthetic drugs and prescription medicines,” he said.

“This parliamentary inquiry is an important opportunity for community members to put forward their views and suggestions on drug law reform.”

As part of the inquiry, the Committee will consider approaches to drug law reform in other Australian states and territories and overseas jurisdictions. It will also look at how other positive reforms could be adopted into Victorian law.

Public submissions can be made until 17 March and further details are available from the Committee’s website.

Community input is also being sought for an inquiry that is examining RSPCA Victoria’s funding and use of powers.

“It will be a comprehensive and timely inquiry, conducted by a Committee that has members from a range of political parties working together to make recommendations to the Victorian Parliament later this year,” said the Chair of the Economy and Infrastructure Committee, Joshua Morris.

The inquiry will consider the appropriateness of the RSPCA’s powers under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 and how those powers have been used.

The Committee will also investigate the appropriateness and use of funding provided by the Victorian Government, as well as any other consequential matters the Committee may deem appropriate.

Submissions can be made until 6 March, with more information available from the Committee’s website.

Another parliamentary inquiry currently seeking submissions is looking into youth justice centres in Victoria.

Recent incidents, the safety of staff and young offenders, and options for keeping young people out of youth justice centres are included in the scope of the inquiry by the Legal and Social Issues Committee.

More details are available from the Committee’s website, with submissions due by 3 March.

Submissions to parliamentary committees can be made online via the e-submissions form available from each inquiry webpage. They can also be emailed or sent via regular mail.

On 14 February, the Family and Community Development Committee will be visiting Swan Hill for its inquiry into services for people with autism spectrum disorder. Details on the inquiry, including transcripts from earlier hearings, are available from the Committee’s website.

For regular updates on parliamentary committee activities, including new inquiries, upcoming public hearings and reports presented, get a free subscription to Victorian Parliament news alerts by emailing news@parliament.vic.gov.au or visit www.parliament.vic.gov.au and click on the news alert subscription link.

And if you are planning a trip to Melbourne, then why not time it to coincide with Parliament House Open Day on Sunday 19 March from 10:30 am to 4:00 pm. You will be able to explore one of Victoria’s most significant landmarks and find out about the next chapter in Parliament’s development. Parliamentary staff will be on hand to speak about the work and processes of parliament and how you can get involved. Hope to see you there.

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Kat Baddeley

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